Fox News forced to Settle $787m Defamation Case with Dominion

Fox News forced to Settle $787m Defamation Case with Dominion

In a stunning turn of events, Fox News has agreed to pay $787.5m to Dominion Voting Systems to settle a defamation lawsuit related to its coverage of the 2020 presidential election. The settlement comes just before the trial starts on Tuesday, April 18, and represents a significant climbdown for Fox. Dominion had initially sought $1.6b from Fox, arguing that the network had caused irreparable damage to its business.

How the settlement between Fox News and Dominion happened

Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems settling the case came shocking as it happened just before the trial sets to begin with opening statements. This sudden end to the case has left many wondering about the implications of the settlement. Both parties and the judge assigned to the case announced the settlement at the 11th hour.

Fox News Dominion defemation case, settlement
Image Courtesy of Adam Fegen via Flickr
  • The defamation lawsuit had caused embarrassment for Fox News over several months. This would also have led Rupert Murdoch and top stars such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity to testify publicly.
  • By settling the case, Fox has managed to avoid a lengthy trial that would have put some of its most prominent figures on the stand for weeks. The settlement also represents a significant financial blow for the network, as it will have to pay almost $800 million (exactly $787.5m) to Dominion Voting Systems.

This settlement marks one of the largest in US media history and is sure to have wide-ranging implications for the future of media and politics in America. We don’t know what will happen next, but Fox News could have a hard time figuring out what to do after this settlement.

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Fox News versus Dominion: What is the case about?

Dominion Voting Systems is a privately-owned company that provides voting equipment to 28 states across the United States. The company filed a lawsuit against Fox News way back in 2021. The voting systems alleged that the network had defamed it through its coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion vs Fox News, settlement
Image Courtesy of Dominion Voting Systems via Official Website

During the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump and his supporters baselessly targeted Dominion with conspiracy theories. They pushed the false narrative that the election was stolen from him. However, no evidence came to support these allegations.

The trial determined whether Dominion could hold Fox News liable for its role in spreading false claims. Dominion argued caused significant harm to its business. This trial expected media outlets and legal experts to closely watch. It could set a precedent for future cases involving media companies and their reporting on contentious political issues.

  • Dominion argues that the network’s hosts and guests repeatedly promoted baseless claims that the company paid kickbacks to politicians and that its voting machines had “rigged” the election by switching millions of votes from Trump to Biden. Furthermore, there were baseless claims linking the company to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, despite the lack of evidence to support them.
  • Fox News argued that the First Amendment protected the statements it made about Dominion on its broadcasts. This Amendment safeguards freedom of speech and the press. The network also contended that Dominion’s lawsuit did not establish sufficient evidence that the claims it aired were made with “actual malice.” It’s a legal standard that must be met to establish defamation.
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